author’s website: Terra Elan McVoy
release date: April 6, 2010
appeals to: Young Adult
overall rating: 4 Stars
*the back cover*
Promise. Betrayal. Confession. Revenge.
Tabitha and her four best friends all wear purity rings, symbols of the virginity-until-marriage pledge they made back in middle school. Now Tab is fifteen, and her ring has come to mean so much more. It’s a symbol of who she is and what she believes—a reminder of her promises to herself, and her bond to her friends.
But when Tab meets a boy whose kisses make her knees go weak, everything suddenly seems a lot more complicated. Tab’s best friend, Morgan, is far from supportive, and for the first time, Tabitha is forced to keep secrets from the one person with whom she’s always shared everything. When one of those secrets breaks to the surface, Tabitha finds herself at the center of a betrayal that splits her friends apart. As her entire world starts to unravel, Tab’s forced to re-examine her friendships, her faith, and what exactly it means to be pure.
With all of the stories about teens who are struggling with things like drinking, drugs, abusive parents or relationships, and other negative things, it was interesting to read a book with a message about abstinence. I don’t believe that this is categorized as “Christian Fiction,” but there is a lot of discussion about Tabitha’s Christian faith in the book. Primarily because she is struggling to understand acceptance and boys in terms of her faith.
Tabitha is a genuinely nice girl with nice, supportive parents. Her parents are a lot more open with her than mine ever were with me, but it is still refreshing to see supportive parents in a story sometimes. Throughout the story, Tabitha has a lot of questions and internal debates that seem very real. For example, on page 47, she is debating whether or not she should call the boy. And if she does, how does she explain the purity ring. There is an entire paragraph of questions that she is asking herself, and I would imagine that a lot of teenagers are probably asking themselves the same kinds of questions every day.
Another big issue comes when Tabitha and her best friend, Morgan, don’t see eye-to-eye on an issue. Tabitha begins to feel strain because Morgan has been there for everything, and now that they’re fighting, Tabitha has to figure things out on her own. While Tabitha’s parents are supportive of her, they are not religious people. So in this story, McVoy also introduces us to a Youth Group leader – Marilyn - who Tabitha is able to approach with her questions. I appreciated that Tabitha felt comfortable talking to someone about her problems, but I loved that Marilyn didn’t just solve them for her. Instead, Marilyn gave her some things to think about (primarily a poem and a Bible verse) so that Tabitha could figure things out on her own.
Overall, this is a very real story of a girl who is serious to her faith, a devoted friend, and a little bit curious about her first romance. The romance in this story is a first love that doesn’t move too fast, and it shows the nerves that are tangled up in the experience of having your first relationship.
*short and snappy*
writing: fun and light - McVoy captures the voice of a real teenager and creates a book that is fun and easy to read even when it covers difficult topics and situations.
plot: there are twists and turns, just like in real life, but the story feels genuine
characters: realistic – McVoy really introduces a variety of characters with their own experiences and opinions to share
memorable line: (really a conversation from pages 216-217)
“If He didn’t love us for our failures and frustrations, if He wasn’t pleased somehow with our attempts to find meaning, rather than inherently knowing it all already, I think God’d be a lot more pissed off with us, don’t you?”
“Maybe He is really pissed off with us,” I mutter back . . .
“If He was,” Marilyn whispers, “I don’t think He’d keep giving us so many beautiful things in the world, would He?”
judging by the cover: I have the paper back and I love the cover – the daisy is simple, but it reminds me of pulling the petals off thinking “I should, I shouldn’t, I should, . . .”
miscellaneous: McVoy’s next book “After the Kiss” is also available. Her page about it is here or the Amazon link is here.